Kim Klement/USA Today Sports

Unlikely David Price got carpal tunnel syndrome from playing video games, physical therapists say

Alex Reimer
May 10, 2018 - 3:43 pm

Red Sox manager Alex Cora says he doesn’t think David Price got carpal tunnel syndrome from playing video games. Physical therapists agree. 

The question has been been raised, because Red Sox players are addicted to Fortnite, the popular battle royale multi-player shooting game. Price recently told the Athletic’s Jen McCaffrey he can play with his teammates for hours after each game. “Let’s say we get back at 11 p.m. from a game, we’ll play until 1:00 a.m., 1:30 a.m., 2:00 a.m. depending on what time our game is the next day,” Price said. “But day games or off days, we can put some time in.”

Carpal tunnel syndrome, which can produce tingling and muscle weakness, is caused by irritation to the median nerve in the wrist area. Steve Vitale, a physical therapist at Professional Physical Therapy, says holding a video game controller, even for an extended period of time, is unlikely to put pressure on the wrist. 

“The position you would have to be in when holding an Xbox or Playstation controller is not the prolonged extension of your wrist you would need –– you see it more with an elevated keyboard,” he said to me over the phone. “I don’t see it often with video game play.”

It’s more plausible that somebody could develop carpal tunnel from typing on a computer all day or holding onto a mousepad, says Zak Gabor, a physical therapist at Boston Physical Therapy & Wellness

“Seeing carpal tunnel syndrome with too much Xbox and Playstation –– not so much,” he explained in a phone call. “We tend to see more thumb tendon issues. Carpal tunnel isn’t as common, because we’re not using a lot of the tendons that would generally be involved in it –– like a computer, where we’re typing all day with our fingers. We’re really just using our thumbs the majority of the time with something like Xbox or Playstation, so it’s definitely not as common.”

Price, who’s posted an 8.22 ERA over his last five starts, told CNHI Sports’ Chris Mason he’s dealt with circulation issues on his hand this season. The left-hander threw a bullpen session Thursday at Yankee Stadium and is slated to start Saturday in Toronto. 

Steve Vitale and Zak Gabor have not examined David Price.